The stylish South American capital with an epic history stakes its claim as an international center of cuisine, culture and design
Author Jon Marcus Photography Javier Pierini and Yadid Levy
IN THE HEART OF BUENOS AIRES, just off the avenue that honors the day Argentina won its independence from Spain, is the Teatro Colón. One of the most acoustically perfect theaters in the world, the 2,500-seat venue was designed by Italian architects using Belgian and Austrian marble, with French furnishings and floors made of oak from the forests of Croatia. Like Buenos Aires itself, the theater is a combination of the best of Europe, built at a time when the emergent city sought to become the Paris of South America, before its tortured run of brutal military dictatorships interspersed with fragile, contentious democracies (one featuring Eva “Evita” Perón, the charismatic first lady who posthumously became an international icon). Today, newly reopened after a three-year, $100 million renovation, the Teatro Colón is a symbol of a thrumming metropolis as eclectic as they come, not only in its architecture but also in the mélange of nationalities and cultures that blends European sophistication and Latin spice. The result is a diverse, thriving city that is wholly South American and, at the same time, absolutely unlike any other.